WESTFIELD, NJ — The school board has appointed two educators to lead the district’s early learning school and an elementary school.

The Board of Education on Tuesday appointed Tiffany Jacobson to the role of interim principal of the Lincoln Early Childhood Center and Mary McCabe as interim assistant principal of Franklin Elementary School, the district announced.

“While feeling extremely excited to lead and support the educational initiatives that will impact our youngest scholars, I am also immensely humbled by the awesome responsibilities which lie in orienting our youngsters with their first formalized school experience,” said Jacobson, in a news release. She will serve in the role Aug. 1 – June 30, the release stated.

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Jacobson joined Westfield in 2017 as K-12 supervisor of language arts, overseeing writing and revision of curriculum documents, facilitating professional development centered on research-based best practices in literacy instruction and library media sciences, and supervising approximately 180 teachers, both English language arts educators in grades K-12 and library media specialists in grades K-8, officials said.

“Dr. Jacobson is particularly well-versed in early literacy skills and has a reading specialist certificate in addition to her advanced degrees,” said Superintendent Margaret Dolan.  “She is known and respected by the Lincoln staff and will fit in well. She also is the mother of young children, so she knows first-hand about the complexities and joy associated with early learners.”

Among her responsibilities, Jacobson also serves as committee chairperson of the Diversity in Texts Committee, which audited existing district-approved ELA titles for themes and topics pertaining to inclusiveness, diversity and equity, officials said.  She is working with the district’s instructional technology teacher to develop a digital bookshelf linking relevant resources for interactive read-alouds for children in grades K through 5, expanded the secondary school selections to challenge implicitly held biases, and curated suggested summer reading, officials said.

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Before joining Westfield, Jacobson spent nearly three years in the Metuchen School District as K-12 Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction and five years as a literacy coach in the Union City School District, where she also taught middle school English and social studies for five years, officials said. Jacobson also is an adjunct professor of education at Saint Peter’s University, where she received her doctorate in Educational Leadership in 2015, according to the school district.  While at Saint Peter’s, she also earned a master’s degree in Education in 2005 and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education in 2003, officials said.  She also holds a Master’s in Literacy Education from New Jersey City University, which she earned in 2007, officials said.

McCabe, a fourth-grade teacher at Franklin, will begin her new role on July 1 and serve in it through June 30. She began her teaching career in Westfield 16 years ago, is a graduate of Westfield High School and a longtime resident, officials said.

“As a mother and a teacher, I am a daily witness to the vital role of a vibrant school community,” said McCabe in the release.  “I am excited for the opportunity to serve as Franklin’s interim assistant principal, where I can lead teachers and students in the community that I love.”

McCabe also serves as literacy coach at Franklin for grades 1-5, a position she has held since 2017, officials said.  She models reading and writing lessons for teachers in grades 3-5, collaborates with colleagues to create district-wide elementary units of study, holds bi-monthly school meetings for teachers with focused literacy topics, and mentors new teachers, providing them with resources and helping with planning, instruction, and assessment.

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“Mrs. McCabe is a poised and diplomatic leader who is highly respected and well-regarded by her students, their families, and her colleagues,” Dolan said. “She will partner well with incoming principal Dr. Paul Duncan who is looking forward to working with her.” 

McCabe’s committee work includes serving as a liaison team member at Franklin to meet with administrators on school-wide issues, officials said.  She also was selected to serve on a district-wide committee that analyzed state standards and created a standards-based report card for grades K-5, according to the district. McCabe was among educators featured in a district video on Social and Emotional Learning as well, officials said.

Prior to her years in Westfield, McCabe was an assistant track and field coach for four years at Union Catholic High School and a fourth-grade teacher at Holy Trinity School for two years.  She earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from Seton Hall University in 2009 and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 2002 from St. Joseph’s University, officials said.

In their interim positions, McCabe will succeed Duncan, who now serves as Franklin’s assistant principal, while Jacobson will succeed Lincoln principal Audrey Zavatz, who is retiring.

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